Youth Court Judges' Views of the Youth Justice system: The results of a survey

Community involvement: Youth justice committees

Judges were asked about "youth justice committees" - an institution that is mentioned in the YOA, but whose existence and operation is thought to vary considerably across the country. [53]

Is there a youth justice committee?
Community: Yes No Don't know Total (n)
Largest or only community in which judge sits? 36 % 45 % 20 % 100 % (238)
Smallest community (for judges sitting in two or more communities) 24 % 48 % 29 % 100 % (136)

Youth Justice Committees seem to be more present in the three prairie provinces than in other regions. However, a number of judges indicated that the use of the expression "being associated with" the court in reference to the committee could be deceptive, since the association was very loose.

Is there a youth justice committee associated with your court?
  Youth justice committee? Total
Yes No Don’t know
Region Atlantic Count
% within Region
8
26.7 %
17
56.7 %
5
16.7 %
30
100 %
Quebec Count
% within Region
2
8.3 %
14
58.3 %
8
33.3 %
24
100 %
Ontario Count
% within Region
12
17.6 %
35
51.5 %
21
30.9 %
68
100 %
Prairies Count
% within Region
33
60 %
18
32.7 %
4
7.3 %
55
100 %
BC Count
% within Region
24
45.3 %
21
39.6 %
8
15.1 %
53
100 %
Territories Count
% within Region
3
75 %
1
25 %
  4
100 %
Total Count
% within Region
82
35 %
106
45.3 %
46
19.7 %
234
100 %

Excluding the territories, Chi-Square = 39.15, df=8, p<.01 (1 low E = 4.8)

Most judges indicated that the youth justice committee was at least somewhat useful.

How useful is the youth justice committee?
Community: Very useful Somewhat useful Slightly useful Not at all useful Total (n)
Largest or only community in which judge sits 38 % 35 % 14 % 13 % 100 % (155)
Smallest community (for judges sitting in two or more communities) 60 % 24 % 9 % 6 % 100 % (33)

Most of the judges who signaled the existence of a youth justice committee in their community indicated at least one function which it served. The table below lists five different functions of the youth justice committee and shows the percentage of judges who felt that each was being served by the committee associated with their court.

Youth Justice Committees: Proportion of judges who indicate that each of the following functions apply to the committee associated with their court
Function Only or largest community Smallest community
Assisting with alternative measures and other pre-trial options 69 % 97 %
Providing information to the community about youth justice issues 46 % 50 %
Helping to develop non-custodial sentencing options 46 % 69 %
Assisting in "conferences" involving offenders and victims 50 % 72 %
Providing judges with information about non-custodial options that are available 33 % 47 %
N on which these percentages are based 83 32

[53] Questions relating to youth justice committees are J1 through J2B

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